Niko Graft Case

Khaleda files writ against govt decision over court shifting

Staff Correspondent

27 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Sunday filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the government decision to set up a court inside Keraniganj jail to try her in Niko graft case and other cases.

In the petition filed through her counsel, she claimed that the trial inside jail will be in-camera which is violation of principle of fair justice as ensured by the Constitution.

But the prosecution lawyers said the government has decided to set up court inside Keraniganj jail for security reason, but trial will be open for media and others to cover and see.

The place where Khaleda Zia was being tried prior to relocation of court to Keraniganj was also a jail and journalists covered the reports on case proceedings, they said. So, transfer of court does not invoke any ground for BNP chief to challenge it, prosecution lawyers opined.

Barrister Kaiser Kamal filed the petition with the High Court. A division bench comprising Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Md Khairul Alam may hear it on Monday.

On May 12, the government issued a gazette notification saying Khaleda Zia’s trial will be conducted at a makeshift court inside Keraniganj jail. The law ministry issued a circular in this regard.

The petitioner contended that relocation of court violates Articles 17 and 31 of the Constitution and sections 9(1) and (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

In her petition, Khaleda Zia also pleaded for a stay on the gazette notification of the government in respect of relocation of the court.

Earlier, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said female unit of newly-constructed Keraniganj jail is ready to accommodate women prisoners. Khaleda Zia, who is receiving treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, will be shifted to the jail after her release from the hospital.

On May 21, Kaiser Kamal sent a legal notice to the government to review its decision to relocate the court or face legal contest.

BNP chairperson Khaleda has been confined in an abandoned jail at Nazimuddin Road in the capital since February 8 last year following her conviction in Zia Orphanage graft case. Later, she was convicted in Zia Charitable graft case. She is facing 17 years imprisonment in both the cases. She is facing around 34 graft and violence related cases.